The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are sporting some interesting new gear since the team’s 30-23 loss against the Toronto Argonauts.
A number of players and coaches have new blue t-shirts featuring a gold goat emblazoned with the No. 24. The new logo was designed to celebrate special teams ace Mike Miller becoming the CFL’s all-time leader special teams tackler this past week, surpassing linebacker Jason Arakgi who retired with 190.
“Mike’s somebody I’ve always admired in the league,” said quarterback Zach Collaros, who wore the t-shirt to his media availability. “He’s an unbelievable football player. Obviously, everybody’s so happy for him. It’s just an honour to be his teammate and watch him go to work every day.”
Head coach Mike O’Shea took pleasure in the unassuming Miller being forced unwillingly into the spotlight. A number of players, including Collaros, have taken to calling Miller ‘GOAT’ — a popular acronym meaning ‘greatest of all-time’ — while serenading him with goat sounds.
“It’s kinda fun, especially when they absolutely hate it,” said O’Shea with a smile. “It makes for good fun around the room.”
Special teams often take a backseat to offence and defence, which is a shame considering that they are a critical facet in the Canadian game. Winnipeg’s franchise quarterback was pleased to see Miller get some well-earned credit for breaking such an illustrious record.
“The casual observer doesn’t really understand how hard their job is and I think a lot of guys who play just offence or just defence … don’t get it either. I certainly hadn’t for a long time until I started paying attention to what goes into making great special teams,” said Collaros.
“Those guys do a lot, especially in the CFL. They’re on the field an awful lot in this game. They need to be in great condition, they have to understand what’s going on in the game, there’s a lot of moving parts. We wish all those guys got more credit.”
Miller has seven special teams tackles in just three games this season — he leads the league in that category — and now sits at a career total of 192. It will be tough to maintain his torrid pace, but at this rate he’ll finish the season with 220 in his career.
The Blue Bombers are back at home in Week 4 where they’ll look to improve on their 2-1 record against the Calgary Stampeders, who are without star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell due to a fractured fibula. The game is slated for 6:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, Aug. 29 at IG Field.